Interim parity regulations hailed
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Friday's announcement about the partial interim federal regulations ending discrimination for mental health and addiction disorders earned praise from advocates. Words like "applaud,"commendable" and "victories for fairness" peppered press releases from organizations working to end insurance discrimination. . . []
Feb. 12: National Advisory Mental Health Council meeting
"The National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the Director, National Institutes of Health; and the Director, National Institute of Mental Health, on all policies and activities relating to the conduct and support of mental health research, research training, and other programs of the Institute." These are open to the public. Forms to register for the upcoming meeting are available here. Friday, February 12, (8:30 am-12:30 pm) NIH Campus, Bldg. 31C, 6th Floor,... []
Models beyond outpatient commitment
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In the ten years since Kendra Webdale was pushed to her death by a man who was denied services for his mental illness, questions about what led to this tragedy have been widely discussed. Led by New York, more than 40 states now believe they have addressed this with laws mandating outpatient or involuntary commitment (AOT). But the issue is hardly resolved, as evidenced by the activists, services providers and psychiatrists who crowded the Columbia University law school law school to discuss what it means to "gain compliance in the community." []
Informative SAMHSA website
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SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminisitration), part of the federal health services agency, has an expanded website. . . []
An equal number of Americans prefer status quo taxes instead of universal health insurance.
For information about this, and findings of other polls, see Kaiser Health News. The poll reflects a CNN opinion poll taken May 14-17, 2009.... []
Stinginess on mental health reform
. . .what about the 84 million? []
Mental health care needs reform and repair
"Behavioral health services are often the first place cuts in coverage are made," said Mental Health America's CEO, David Shern. . . []
Integratating mental health and substance use in reform
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To make sure that mental health and substance use disorders are incorporated in on-going health reform debates, the Whole Health Campaign provides policy briefs with recommendations. []
Obama nominates mental health expert
A noted economist specializing in mental health policy has been nominated to serve the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Planning and Evaluation. Sherry Glied, who frequently consults about mental health policy and insurance reform, co-authored the influential Better But Not Welland served the Council of Economic Advisors under two presidents, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She currently teaches at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health where she describes her teaching by saying, "What... []
Stabenow wants $100 million more for community programs
Demand is outstripping capacity for community mental health services leading Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to ask fellow senators to sign on to an additional $100 million for the appropriation bill. In a letter circulated last month, she says: "CMHCs serve 8 million low-income Americans with mental health and addiction disorders. At present, fully 25% of these individuals have no health insurance. But in the past few months, these safety net providers are reporting spikes in their uncompensated care with increased... []
Mental health concern of citizen groups
The current cost of health, at 16 percent of the GDP, is twice that spent by other nations according to a report released by the department of Health and Human Services. The report summarized 3,200 community events held nationwide to elicit citizen concerns about health reform. As Reuters said, "While the need for change is not controversial, conservatives and liberals differ on how that should be approached." Below is a sample of comments pertaining to mental health, listed by state:... []
Lobby lawmakers, Patrick Kennedy tells advocates
. . . ask for mental health reform []
Mental health advocate attends health summit
Friends: It was my privilege to be at the White House this afternoon for the President's Health Summit. The President opened the Summit by talking about the Report on Health Care Community Discussions that was distributed to participants and then introducing a firefighter/EMT from Indiana who talked about his experiences dealing with so many people with inadequate or no health coverage. Following the opening session with the President, the Summit moved to five breakout sessions. I can only speak to... []
Kansas Sebelius for HHS
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is the president's choice for secretary of Health and Human Services. As governor of Kansas and a Washington outsider, she meets a stiff challenge to steer health reform in agencies such as the FDA, or the National Institutes of Health, both of which await nominations. Sebelius is known for her bi-partisan work as a Democrat in a Republican state, for her strong positions on universal health insurance, including an early spokesperson for children, and for taking... []
$350 million stimulus to NIMH
Of the $10.8 billion in the stimulus plan for the National Institutes of Health, about $350 million will go to National Institute of Mental Health to support basic and clinical research. A press release indicated this will "jump start many of the initiatives in the NIMH Strategic Plan." The monies must be used within two years.... []
Schwarzenegger signs budget - - mental health on ballot
Will California voters oppose kids' programs and/or mental health services? That's the way the budget crisis has shaped up with two propositions. As the L.A. Times writes, voters will decide whether "to move $226 million from mental health programs and $608 million from programs aimed at children younger than 5 years old." A special election will be held in May now that the governor signed the intensely controversial budget agreement. Each of the questions was answered by voters in previous... []
Prevention programs at risk in stimulus bill
More than 170 advocacy organizations are hoping the stimulus package will restore prevention and wellness to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. To pare down the bill's size, the Senate stripped $5.8 billion for about 20,000 public health jobs along with services they deliver. A copy of the letter is available at Trust for America's Health.... []
Senate hearings on prevention and wellness
Congressional hearings were held last week to address prevention and wellness as the cornerstone to health reform. Bill Emmet, Campaign for Mental Health Reform, explained how mental health and substance use disorders are intertwined with preventable chronic illnesses contributing to loss of productivity and a shorter life expectancy (averaging 25 years). Emmet said: People with mental illnesses are uninsured at twice the rate of the general population: 34% of people with mental illness have no health coverage at this point.... []
Priorities under the new President Obama
How will the new administration, even one committed to health reform, be able to change health priorities? In a thoughtful article, "Getting There from Here," in the New Yorker, Atul Gawande considers constraints and challenges influencing opportunities for reform and draws on his own experience as a doctor treating cancer patients in Mass. Kicking off the 111th Congress, the House Appropriations committee released a detailed report on the proposed reinvestment act of 2009. The report enumerates how recommended supplemental appropriations... []
Mental health reform needs input
. . .tell your story to Obama-Biden []
Overcrowded psychiatric emergency rooms
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Dr. Anthony Ng explains why overcrowded psychiatric emergency rooms have reached a crisis, and how community services can help solve it. []
Little time left for parity bill
With little time left for passage of mental health parity, an editorial in the New York Times calls for "a statesman who can push this worthy parity legislation through to final passage before adjournment." Despite overwhelming support, the bill remains deadlocked over recouping tax revenues in the next decade. Health policy expert, Dr. Howard Goldman, explains why parity matters. ... []
Little time left for parity bill
With little time left for passage of mental health parity, an editorial in the New York Times calls for "a statesman who can push this worthy parity legislation through to final passage before adjournment." Despite overwhelming support, the bill remains deadlocked over recouping tax revenues in the next decade. Health policy expert, Dr. Howard Goldman, explains why parity matters. ... []
SAMHSA addresses substance abuse
SAMHSA announced the award of $66 million to medical centers and resident training programs for screening, intervention and treatment for people at risk for substance abuse. ... []
SAMHSA addresses substance abuse
SAMHSA announced the award of $66 million to medical centers and resident training programs for screening, intervention and treatment for people at risk for substance abuse. ... []

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